Consider the topic of this post. What if it was just a collection of links to other sites about fluff posts? What if it was something you’d already heard about fluff posts? Would you be as interested? Would you even be reading this sentence?

Probably not. The fact is, a post that doesn’t offer enough original value probably won’t be read. If they occur too frequently, even loyal subscribers may start looking elsewhere. I call these “fluff posts.” Here are three varieties to watch out for.

  1. Link Roundups. Few posts will be skipped as often as the old-fashioned link roundup. The assumption goes that a noteworthy post on another blog would deserve a more detailed response. By offering up a long list of links, each with very little or no response, the perceived value is very low. Remember; the value of the post is not the sum of the value of each link.
  2. Live Blog Posts. Especially in the SEO blogosphere, live blogging at industry conferences is a common practice. Unfortunately, by regurgitating every detail, you leave it to your readers to pick out the important points.
  3. Repeat Coverage. Naturally, when something notable happens within your niche, readers often expect you to weigh in on it. However, if all you do is give the facts of an already well-known issue, your readers will simply move on.

There’s a common element to identifying fluff posts like this. If your readers are left searching for original value, it’s probably a fluff post.

Here’s a revelation, though: Fluff posts are okay. In fact, most of the prominent blogs I read post plenty of fluff. However, they post fluff in addition to plenty of original content.

The point is to offer up more than just fluff. By all means, post a link roundup. Blog at events, or about the news. Just don’t make that the entirety of your blog. The more original value you offer your readers, the more successful your blog will be.

4 thoughts on “A Surefire Way to Spot Fluff Posts

  1. Speaking of Problogger, Darren Rowse is the king of writing 300 word posts that say absolutely nothing. I mean, look at this post about Yahoo Buzz.

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/08/20/the-buzz-about-yahoo-buzz/

    Or this post, which is just him recycling crap that he’s been saying week in and week out for the past two years:

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/08/22/is-writing-great-content-enough-to-build-a-successful-blog/

    Nobody’s worse than Performancing though.

  2. I’ve never subscribed to Performancing, but I have to disagree about ProBlogger. Sure, Darren’s got his “speedlinks,” and much of what he posts has been covered at some point in the past (how could it not after he’s been blogging for so long), but I think he goes to great lengths to inject original value into most of his posts.

    The trick is to approach the same topic from a different angle. Personally, I found last Thursday’s post, “Is Writing Great Content Enough to Build a Successful Blog?” very valuable, and I’ve been reading ProBlogger for years. (Ironically, I was writing this sentence when notification came into my email of your second comment decrying the post.)

    I suppose there’s an element of subjectivity here that I failed to touch on. Original value, it seems, is in the eye of the beholder. 😉

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